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The Thanksgiving Poetry Game

November 20, 2013


The Thanksgiving Poetry Game


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



            Would you like to add some spice of poetry at your Thanksgiving table?  Would you like to focus on a new and different game during your Thanksgiving celebration?  Instead of having each person around the table share just one thing for which one is particularly grateful this holiday, challenge your relatives and/or friends to write and then share an acrostic of thanks


            In the example below, you will see that I took the word “Thanksgiving” for forming my acrostic poem.  For each letter of the word “Thanksgiving,” I begin a line of poetry—a line of poetry that notes something for which I am grateful.  If you read vertically down the left margin of the poem, you will recognize that each initial letter of the twelve lines spells out “Thanksgiving.”  Although the first eight lines of my acrostic are rhymed in couplets and the last four lines are an a-b-a-b rhyme pattern, your acrostic does not have to rhyme in a strict pattern or rhyme at all.  Nevertheless, I do hope that you will try to add some rhyme and rhythm to your poem—even though the expressions of thanks are the most important part of the poem.  Of course, I do recommend adding a title to your poem and a proud byline.  After my example, I will give you more directions for the Thanksgiving Poetry Game.



A Crescendo of Thanks on Thanksgiving Day


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Trust in my guide dogs who have blessed my life with a graceful sail.


Hands that can read, teach, and appreciate braille.


Ancestors who dared begin life anew in the USA and who gave me their stories to tell.


Nephew Eric’s coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan safe and well.


Kindnesses of family, friends, and strangers in so many ways.


Sunshine through my south and east windows on cold November days.


Gardening and pink geraniums that last till Thanksgiving for a late floral touch.


ISU and WMU professors and all the teachers from whom I learned so much.


Voting with a special talking machine and headset at my polling place.


Ice cream—especially Wisconsin frozen custard and a curl of Dairy Queen.


Neighborhood of Blanford, the best place to grow up—I still embrace.


Gift of great parents whom I forever cherish, love, and thank with heart serene.



DIRECTIONS:  The Thanksgiving Poetry Game


            You have various options for playing this game, but no football nor television is required. 


1.  Age:  seven and up!


2.  Number of participants:  eleven or as few or as many as the number of guests around your Thanksgiving table.


3.  You can give the game directions to your guests in advance or as you welcome them to your home or the host’s home on Thanksgiving.


4.  Each participant may write one acrostic poem, or partners or even teams may write the acrostic of thanks.  If only a small number of people are at your gathering, the entire group may write one poem.


5.  When you first play this game, you may prefer to use the word “Thanksgiving.”  The next year, you can select a different word of the season for all participants to use; or you may have a drawing so that each participant or team can choose a different word or phrase.  Besides “Thanksgiving,” the acrostic poem may stem from “pumpkin pie,” “cornucopia,” “cranberries,” “gratitude,” “thankful,” “muchas gracias” (Spanish for “many thanks”), “sweet potatoes,” “November,” etc.


6.  Later, at your table or in the living room or family room, each person or team reads his/her/their poem aloud.  No football game nor the movie It’s a Wonderful Life can be playing in the background.  An option is to shuffle the pages of poetry and pass out the poems.  Other participants must guess who penned the acrostic which has just been read by someone other than the writer.


7.  The person deemed to have written the best acrostic of thanks ceremoniously receives the first piece of pumpkin pie; then, each remaining participant is served a piece of pumpkin pie.  Any non-participant has a choice of only raspberry or gooseberry pie.


8.  You may use your poetic license to change the directions to suit your guests.  Just be certain to encourage earnest gratitude, fun creativity, and the warm blessings of a Thanksgiving gathering of family and/or friends.



With best wishes for a Happy and Creative Thanksgiving,



November 20, 2013, Wednesday



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  1. Thank you, Alice, for your interesting poem and creative suggestion for our family and others!
    Love, Mary

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